VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 1/26/16)—Archivist Jan Ballard has been promoted to the new position of Assistant Director of the American Baptist Historical Society, effective immediately. This position recognizes the increased role and responsibility that Ballard has undertaken, including the researching and writing of grants and the training of student workers to assist in the care of rare books.
“I appreciate Jan greatly,” commented Executive Director Deborah Van Broekhoven, “for her willingness to go above and beyond the basic duties of an archivist.” Van Broekhoven also noted that Ballard had been assisting substantially with At Your Fingertips, the campaign in support of ABHS and its program of digitization. Most importantly, Van Broekhoven added, “this change makes clear the responsibility of Ballard for overall management of the collections.”
Part of Ballard’s responsibility, per the Society’s strategic plan, has included investigating uses of new technologies and strategic collaborations. The purpose of these collaborations has been to improve the organization’s ability to preserve and share the collections. Consequently for the past two years, Ballard has been building an infrastructure to support collection digitization. Central to this infrastructure is ArchivesSpace, a cutting-edge online cataloging application, which Ballard, in collaboration with Mercer Libraries, has begun to implement. To date, records for the Society’s manuscript collections and foreign missionary correspondence have been added to this new catalog; and the project to add more records is ongoing. By April, researchers worldwide will be able to “google” subjects related to Baptist history and discover relevant ABHS resources, including some images of digitized collections–all through the ArchivesSpace online catalog.
Ballard has worked at the Historical Society since 2011.
Founded in 1853, the American Baptist Historical Society preserves and shares its collections documenting the influence Baptists have had on religious and civic life. Its six miles of shelving hold the archives of the national mission societies of the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., of which it is a part; the personal papers of prominent Baptist leaders; original church records; periodicals representing the world-wide Baptist press; national, state and associational published minutes from the vast array of Baptist denominations in the U.S.; and books and pamphlets that are by, about, and against Baptists. Researchers come from all over the world from a multitude of disciplines, including American history, political science, women’s studies, anthropology and sociology. For more information about ABHS, including how to make a research appointment or to volunteer, visit our website at http://www.abhsarchives.org/.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.